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What Types of Hearing Tests are Performed?

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Ear Exam

If you’ve never had a hearing test, then it will shock you to know that there are actually many types of test performed during your appointment. Your audiologist will test different things to get a full understanding of your hearing health, ensuring they get the correct diagnosis.

If you’re about to attend your first ever hearing test, or even if you’re just curious, here are the different types of hearing tests an audiologist uses during a hearing examination.

Pure-tone test

This hearing test is designed to figure out the range of pitches you can hear. Your audiologist will provide you with headphones, and they’ll play various sounds at different pitches. When you hear a sound, you will indicate that you’ve heard it by saying yes or raising your hand; the response will depend on what your audiologist asks you to do.

This test is done on each ear individually as it allows your audiologist to properly test your ability to hear tones.

Speech test

With this hearing test, your audiologist is looking at how well you receive speech. In essence, it tests your ability to hear regular conversations and people speaking. The set up is similar to the pure-tone test in that you wear headphones, but the difference is that you’ll be asked to listen to conversations.

You’ll be asked to repeat what you hear, and the accuracy of your word recognition will help the audiologist see how good your speech reception is.

Acoustic reflex test

The acoustic reflex test is an essential test that will give your audiologist an idea as to where your hearing loss stems from and the type of hearing loss you might have. The idea with this test is to use air pressure to see how your eardrum responds and vibrates. Your audiologist will measure how your middle ear contracts to the changes in pressure, which gives them the results they need to figure out what kind of hearing loss you have and where it is.

Otoacoustic emissions

This is a significant part of your hearing test that involves testing your inner ear cells. It’s the most invasive of all tests, but you shouldn’t experience any pain, just some slight discomfort. During this test, a small probe is inserted into your ear which uses a tiny speaker to stimulate the cochlea. When you have normal hearing, the cochlea will produce otacoustic emissions. When you have hearing loss, the emissions will be less, or they may not be present at all. This helps your audiologist figure out the health or your cochlear and inner ear.

It’s possible for your audiologist to perform a few other tests as well, but this can depend on the success of the previous tests. An auditory brainstem response (ABR) is sometimes required, which uses electrodes on your hear to measure your brain wave activity and the link between your brain and inner ear. Further tests for your middle ear can also be used depending on the results of your acoustic reflex test.

The critical thing to know is that all types of hearing tests aren’t painful and won’t take long. There’s no need to be nervous; it’s a painless examination that will help you realize the extent of your hearing health. With little to worry about, don’t avoid hearing tests; book one with an audiologist to ensure your hearing stays in the best possible condition for as long as can be.